The idea for this site has been percolating in my head for some time – running into years – now. Over the last decade or so, there have been various issues and topics that I’ve wanted to discuss and explore further with colleagues across the wider sector. There have been moments (we’ve all had them) when I’ve been surprised or disappointed by a turn of events, or a throwaway comment has made me stop and think about what healthy educational communities and practices might look like. Perhaps we’ve seen something we think should be adopted as best practice, or maybe we’ve witnessed something that has left a bad taste in our mouths: and we promise ourselves that we’ll get round to writing about these, to discussing these further, but ever-present time constraints mean that we never manage to dedicate the time to making more than a few scribbled notes and aide-mémoires.
The purpose of this site, therefore, is to capture some thoughts and observations about the state of Higher Education in the first quarter of the twenty-first century, encouraging conversation about practical elements of the current, ever-changing Higher Education environment.
The intention is to provide an outlet for critical discussion of, and challenging where appropriate, current practices; especially those which have an effect on individuals and teams.
The human element of working in Higher Education, specifically, is very much of interest; and this site aims to encourage a variety of ways of thinking about partnership and team working to achieve shared goals. This includes unashamedly championing Professional Services, as well as challenging divisions (perceived and actual) between different staff and student groups in general.
In addition to posts focussing on shared experiences and personal opinion, there are also a few more irreverent ideas in the pipeline, but these are only mischievous half-thoughts at present. It should also be noted that it is from these further ideas that the tongue-in-cheek #BadHigherEd hashtag originates, rather than it being intended as some damning indictment of all things tertiary education.
The First Posts
The first few posts focus upon a talk I gave to the Medical Educator Forum at Edinburgh Medical School in April 2018: The Role of Professional Services Staff in Higher (Medical) Education. This has been rewritten to be of wider relevance, removing local and medical commentary from the talk, and focussing more widely on the role of Professional Services staff in Higher Education across the sector. These posts (which will provide inroads into key themes which will, in time, undoubtedly be revisited again in more detail) detail three primary challenges for Professional Services staff (language, resources, resilience); discuss the need for cohesive educational communities consisting of all staff and students, and; finally, touch upon the folklore of Higher Education and discuss how we can learn from it.
Ways to Participate
This site is intended to predominantly act as a scrapbook, throwing thoughts and ideas relating to Higher Education out into the void. It would be great to hear from anyone who has something to say.
There are a few ways to participate:
- You may be interested in contributing your experiences (in confidence, if desired) to upcoming blog posts. At times, ideas for future posts will be shared either on this site or on Twitter. Feel free to chip in!
- You may wish to suggest ideas or themes for upcoming blog posts or series.
- You may wish to write a guest blog post.
To get in touch, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the conversation on Twitter.